California mom with MS dies of COVID-19 after being denied vaccine: lawsuit
A California mother-of-three died of COVID-19 after she was denied a vaccine and then monoclonal antibody treatment because she had multiple sclerosis, her family claims.
Nerissa Regnier, 45, a real estate agent from Mission Viejo, died Dec. 16 after allegedly being refused a jab despite asking for one seven times within six months, ABC 7 Los Angeles reported.
She was then denied monoclonal antibody treatment after contracting the deadly bug, her family’s attorneys said this week as they announced plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against her health care provider, Kaiser Permanente.
“She was a very healthy mother of three managing her MS,” attorney Annee Della Donna said about Regnier, who left behind her husband, Devin Regnier, and three children, ages 14, 16 and 19, ABC 7 reported.
In February, Regnier was placed on a new drug regimen for MS, which suppressed her immune system – but when she inquired about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, she was denied it because it supposedly contained a “live virus,” the lawyer said.
But that claim is false, Della Donna said.
“When you’re immunocompromised you need the COVID-19 vaccine,” she said, adding that the woman was told seven times over the following six months that she could not get a “live” vaccine.
“They keep telling her no, no, no,” Della Donna said.
In August, Regnier asked her neurologist about getting inoculated and he told her she had to get the jab, the lawyer said.
“Two days later she runs over to Kaiser to get the COVID vaccine and she’s feeling symptoms so they test her and she’s got COVID,” she said.
Regnier was then given antibiotics – another no-no – as well as steroids, which is not recommended, Della Donna added.
And when she was denied monoclonal antibody treatment, her husband got her discharged from Kaiser’s hospital in Irvine and took her to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, where she was told it was too late, said Eric Dubin, another lawyer for the family.
She was stabilized at Hoag before returning to Kaiser, where she eventually died, according to Della Donna.
“Twice, this husband relied on Kaiser for medical guidance and twice they failed him. It’s a devastating case,” another attorney, Eric Dubin, said.
Della Donna, who described Regnier as a “healthy mom” who was “very active in the community,” said she had her MS under control.
“This is a public service announcement. If you’re told you shouldn’t get the vaccine because it’s a live vaccine that’s just flat-out wrong,” she said.
“And everybody whose immune system is down needs to get the vaccine. That’s why we’re doing this. We don’t want this poor woman’s life to be taken in vain,” Della Donna added.
“Nerissa Regnier was refused the COVID vaccine by Kaiser because they mistakenly thought it was a live vaccine and it was contraindicated with her MS treatment,” she told Newsweek.
“When Nerissa went into Kaiser to get her COVID-19 shot, she was turned away because she had already contracted the virus,” Della Donna said.
“Once sick, Kaiser continued to commit medical negligence, by failing to give her the antibodies within the crucial 10 days, and instead, treating her with steroids and antibiotics, both which do not work against this deadly virus,” she told the mag.
“Everyone should know that COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines,” Della Donna added. “We also spoke to the manufacturer of the medication she was on, and they stated there was absolutely no issue with getting the vaccine while taking their drug.”
In a statement, Kaiser Permanente said: “On behalf of our physicians and care givers at Kaiser Permanente, we extend our deepest condolences to the family of Nerissa Regnier for the loss of their loved one. This global pandemic has tragically affected so many families.
“While we cannot comment on personal health information or the specific circumstances of this case, our physicians and health care professionals are dedicated to ensuring every individual treated at Kaiser Permanente receives the highest quality health care appropriate for their situation,” it said.
“Treatments for COVID-19 continue to rapidly evolve, and in consultation with each patient, we prescribe care that is intended to provide the best clinical outcomes based on current knowledge and their individual needs,” Kaiser continued.
“Additionally, we have clearly communicated to our members, patients and the public that none of the available COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus and that they are safe and effective,” it said.
“Kaiser Permanente has been consistent since vaccines first became available that we are committed to administering vaccines safely and equitably in accordance with all federal and state guidelines,” it added.